The ND-4551A is basically the same drive as the ND-4550A with LabelFlash added, so the performance should be identical to the ND-4550A. This of course is no bad thing, since the ND-4550A is the fastest DVD writer I’ve ever tested.
Specification wise, the ND-4551A will burn DVD-R/+R discs at 16x, DVD+R DL at 8x, DVD-R DL at 8x, DVD+RW at 8x, DVD-RW at 6x, DVD-RAM at 5x, CD-R discs at 48x and finally CD-RW media at 32x. This puts the ND-4551A at the forefront of DVD writer technology, so much so that there still isn’t 8x DVD+RW media available to test its ability to the full yet.
There’s no doubt that NEC is trying to cover every base with its DVD writers. The ND-4550A introduced DVD-RAM support to the NEC portfolio, while the addition of LabelFlash in the ND-4551A means that you can do pretty much everything with this drive.
Whether you think LabelFlash looks better than LightScribe is a matter of personal taste, but LightScribe discs definitely seem to be more durable. That said, if you keep your discs in a wallet or jewel case then they’re unlikely to get scratched anyway. Of course LabelFlash discs seem to cost more than LightScribe ones, but that’s to be expected since LightScribe has been around for longer – but it’s also worth noting that the LabelFlash DVD-R discs are rated faster than the LightScribe DVD+R discs.
Despite the amazing versatility of the ND-4551A the price is still unbelievably low. A quick look around the web showed that you can pick up this drive for as little as £32.94 including VAT, making it a complete bargain.
The NEC ND-4551A is all the DVD writer you’ll ever need. It boasts write speeds that humble the competition, the ability to burn every type of media available and “in drive” label burning. Considering the incredibly low price, I have no hesitation in labelling the ND-4551A as the best DVD writer currently available.